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Sunday, December 17, 2017

Cold and allergy season is here! What to do with winter upon us

We stand at the threshold between autumn and winter, which can be a time fraught with illness and allergic responses. Not only are many of the plant-born allergens present, as many common irritants bloom and seed before winter, but the sudden change in weather can fuel the spread of the common cold.

While those suffering from allergies often have their regimen well in hand, how can we better combat the passage of the rhinovirus and shorten the duration of a cold if we succumb? In the article below, we’ll discuss cold medications and cold and allergy palliative measures to help you stay healthy and resilient this winter.

Know the Enemy

Several viruses cause colds, formally known as coronaviruses or rhinoviruses. Many lack this basic understanding and believe that once caught that a cold can be “cured” by various methods. This belief is patently false. To date, there is no vaccine for any form of the common cold. Some individuals believe that antibiotics are effective. However, due to the nature of broad-spectrum antibiotics, the result is often to compound the illness; unnecessary antibiotics weaken your body’s ability to repel additional infections and fight existing viral incursions.

So, you might wonder what use many OTC medications are if they don’t cure the disease. The good news is that, while that’s true, what you can do is bolster your body’s natural ability to fight the cold virus and shorten the duration of the cold. This is the purpose of many of the over the counter cold medicines currently available. For very young individuals suffering from colds, be wary about what remedies you apply, since some OTC medicines can cause dangerous side effects in children.

An Ounce of Prevention

Of course, if you can, improve your chances of deflecting the cold viruses to which you are exposed. Wash your hands frequently or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Avoid touching your face during the day, since the human fingertip picks up more contaminants and particulate matter than any other part of your body.

Stay hydrated. The drying impacts of central heating and sudden temperature changes when transitioning from indoor to outdoor activities render your mucous membranes—sinus, throat, and eyes—vulnerable to infection. And take plenty of vitamin D, since less sunlight and more clothing naturally lower our body’s ability to produce this essential vitamin, which is responsible for respiratory health, among other things.

Of course, if you do succumb to a cold, there are measures and OTC cold medications that can shorten your illness. Most medical professionals recommend hydration with broth, tea, water, and juice paired with plenty of restorative sleep. Rest is the ultimate weapon against disease.

Zinc and magnesium are two substances that will also help shorten the duration of symptoms and can be found in remedies from lozenges to nasal swabs. Throat sprays and lozenges are great ways to soothe sore throats, and saline will alleviate congestion when applied through the nostril.

If you suffer from frequent respiratory illness, it might be a good idea to focus on boosting your immune system with preventative measures. However, for most of us, cold medications and therapeutic strategies can alleviate the worst impacts of these viruses. During cold and allergy season, it’s important to know what can work and what just won’t suffice to ameliorate the agony of the common cold.

This is a guest blog entry.

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